Qinghai Lake

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Qinghai Lake or Kukunor   is the largest mountainous closed-drainage salt lake in Central Asia. The largest lake in the People’s Republic of China.
In Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian languages, the word “Kukunor” means “blue lake”. This unique reservoir is located in the west of Qinghai province, at an altitude of 3200 m above sea level, and it contains significant amounts of concentrated natural salt. Kukunor is the largest lake in the Central Asian region and is surrounded by the majestic ridges of the Nanshan mountains.
Since 1997,  has been under state protection: a conservation area of ​​Lake Kukunor has been established here. The main goal of this zone is to preserve the rapidly decreasing population of Przewalski’s gazelles: they die from lack of food (sheep eat all the grass) and from poaching.
Tourists who plan to come here usually choose Xining city as their main destination .The main attractions of the lake were and remain Buddhist shrines. On an island off the west coast of Kukunor, there are structures that were used by hermits as hiding places.

Access : Coordinates: 37, 100.133333 / Lake Kukunor or Qinghai It is located for its south shore in Gonghe xian of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and for its north shore in Haiyan and Gangca Xians of Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of eponymous Qinghai province, whose capital, Xining, is located about 180 km east of the lake.

Highlights :

  •  Kukunor is considered one of the six sacred lakes in Tibet. (Along with the lakes Manasarovar, Yamdrok, Nam Tso, Lhamo Latso, and Pegutso).For followers of Buddhism, the lake itself and all the territories around it have the status of a sacred area. She has endless reserves of healing natural energy and is ready to generously share it with people. Many pilgrims come to the Ganchzhur coastal stone every year. If you believe the ancient Chinese legends, the one who walks through the narrow gorge inside this stone will be cleansed of his earthly sins and will receive immortality as a reward.
  •  Kokonor is located at an altitude of 3.2 thousand meters. The length of the reservoir is about 105 km, and the width is about 65 km. The surface area of the lake is 4.2 thousand square meters. km. The depth reaches 38 m.
  •  On the surface of the water there are many islets, including the romantically named “Island of the Heart” and “Island of the Dragon’s Foal”.
  •  Buddhist temple Mahadeva (“Heart of the Lake”), the sacred stone Ganchzhur: “the heart of the lake” And the Gandzhur stone, lying by the waters of the lake, according to legend, is nothing but a book of sacred Buddhist texts.
  •  Bird Island, Kukunor Lake Conservation Area, Qinghaihu Wildlife Refuge : The island is fenced with cement gutters to protect the nests of birds that have chosen the Kukunor for breeding. This elementary measure helped to significantly increase the bird population.
  •  Local legends tell that in the lake lived – or still lives – an animal called lumo, which is a dragon water snake called the Queen of the Lake Serpents.
  •  According to Chinese Buddhism, Lake Kukunor is one of the “power points” on Earth.

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking / Tour of Qinghai Lake / horseback riding / environmental interpretation, landscape observation.

Go next : The closest large city to Lake Kukonor is Xining, the administrative center of Qinghai Province, within which the entire lake is located /

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